Jim Collins Level 5 Leadership: Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

They may be quite good at meeting deadlines and have solid attention to detail yet they will not put their strengths to good use in order to truly invest in themselves or the company. These employees will understand the company's purpose and hedgehog concept but may not truly grasp how to apply it to the work that they do each day (i.e. How does making this copy contribute to the overall purpose of the company?). They may not be able to see how the job that they do ties into the big picture of what the company is striving to achieve.

Persons who treat the job as if it is just a job will often be undisciplined in their personal lives. They will not have a solid purpose or direction and may respond to life's stressors in a frantic and haphazard manner. They may also be rigid and inflexible when confronted with change and prefer consistency to spontaneity. These individuals may be unclear as to who they are and as a result may change paths several times with hobbies, interests, and employment. They may often appear as if they are in search of a missing link.

In their daily job the person who takes responsibility for their job is able to respond reasonably to whatever situation may occur whether crisis or opportunity. They will stay in line with their own personal values as well as the company's values and will be true to the hedgehog concept. These individuals will not need to be micromanaged because they will have the self-discipline to achieve results. Collins (2001) reports having self-disciplined people on the bus gives the company the freedom to manage the system rather than creating systems to manage the people. These individuals are passionate about their work, the purpose of the company, and those that they work with (Collins, 2001). This true attunement with the purpose and plans of the company allows this individual to be responsive and creative when implementing strategies for success.

These individuals will enjoy the constructive abrasion that happens in highly functioning teams and will challenge teammates to think in innovative ways. They will understand the benefits of group process but will not fall into dysfunctional patterns such as groupthink. They will also be a strong representation of the agency and their team. Even if they do not agree with the direction that the group has chosen to go or a decision that has been handed down by the company, they will actively embrace it and promote it to others.

In their daily lives the person who understands their responsibilities will live each day in accordance with their values and personal purpose rather than making knee jerk reactions to situations as they arise. These people are clear on who they are and what their goals in life are. They will behave in a manner that is consistent with these values and will expect others to do the same. In all settings they are willing to help others achieve their goals and stay true to themselves (Collins, 2001). They will emerge and be thought of as strong role models.

When looking to recruit those who understand the responsibility of their job, a leader should be looking for persons who exhibit self-determination, a passion for the work that is to be done, and a strong desire to be a part of the success of the company. Collins (2001) describes these individuals as needing to have the discipline to work within the existing systems yet the flexibility and responsibility to take action within those frameworks in an innovative manner. These individuals will respect and understand the structure that is in place and at the same time will exercise their ability to use creativity coupled with disciplined thought to take responsibility for how they implement the organizational systems (Collins, 2001).

Technology Accelerators

There is much hype regarding new technologies as they emerge onto the market which creates a fear of being left behind or missing out on something (Collins, 2001). Companies that fall into the hype of new technology will often purchase new technology for the sake of having better technology without looking at the role that it will play in the overall organization and where it fits into their purpose.

There are also the companies that fear being left behind and therefore make technological purchases or investments that do not fit in with their purpose in order to ensure their continued success. These companies recognize that they need technology in order to advance in their industry and the lack of a thorough understanding of how it should be interwoven into their work creates a sense of fear. They are afraid that if they are not quick enough or aware enough of technological advances that they will wake up one day and find themselves antiquated. According to Collins (2001), technology has little to do with taking a company from good to great but it can certainly help a company further its journey to greatness. It is not the catalyst for change, but it can be a mechanism by which change occurs.

In order to view technology with objective equanimity one must always look at it in terms of how it fits with the company's hedgehog concept and not become fearful or awestruck at the endless technological possibilities. Companies that are successful in implementing technology that furthers their purpose make such choices in a level-headed, directed, and thoughtful manner. They do not jump at opportunities that present themselves as they recognize that adherence to their purpose is what will make them great. If a new technology does not fit within their hedgehog concept, they simply ignore it and wait for the right scenario to present itself (Collins, 2001). They also recognize that greatness comes from ensuring that they make the best possible choices for the company not the one that appears the flashiest or that will draw the most attention.

Collins (2001) found that every company that was able to achieve greatness had highly developed technology. However, it was not simply that they had cutting edge technology that led to their success it was their ability to forge ahead with cutting edge technology that tied directly into their purpose therefore assisting them in becoming forerunners in their industries. Interestingly, Collins (2001) recognized that each company that made its way from good to great did so through the use of very different technological advances, making the idea of technology itself almost irrelevant in the transformation process.

The primary driver in a great company is the team of employees. Coupled with the right team, technology can be used to its fullest capacity to further the hedgehog concept but should never be the catalyst by which the company seeks to make change (Collins, 2001). Therefore in order to truly look at technological advances in an objective manner one must be quite clear on their purpose and explore all technological opportunities that present themselves with the goal of identifying whether or not it fits with this end. When a company does decide to act on a new technology they should do so with careful small steps evaluating at various intervals whether or not they are on…

Sources Used in Document:


Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.

Humility. (2010). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. Retrieved May 20, 2010 from:


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